Every business license, location expansion and change of location application needs to be reviewed and approved by the Zoning division before a business license application can be processed.

The City of Chicago is divided into distinct zoning districts that reflect business and neighborhood uses. Each zoning district has different regulations about the types of business activities that are permitted.

A zoning review will include

  • Proper classification of business activity
  • If the business activity(s) is allowed in a specific district
  • Compliance with parking, landscape, and building requirements
  • Verification of valid driveway permit

The Chicago Business Zoning Guide serves as a reference for business owners in entrepreneurs to provide clear, reliable, and consistent information on zoning usage.   For more information on how to use the Guide, watch the Business Zoning Guide Webinar.

Use the Interactive Zoning Map to look up zoning for a location.

To confirm the zoning status of a specific location, call the Business Call Center at 312-74-GOBIZ (744.6249) or visit the Chicago Small Business Center (SBC).  The SBC offers walk-in consultations from Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm at 121 N. LaSalle Street, Room 800. 

Zoning reminders

  • Do not enter into any financial commitments (i.e. sign a lease) unless you are certain that you are in the proper zoning district that allows the proposed business activity
  • Do not assume the previous owner’s zoning designation applies
  • It is important to check the zoning requirements of a proposed business location carefully


For more information on zoning, including the Zoning Board of Appeals, please visit the Zoning Ordinance Administration.


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